In our latest update to the Remote Working Journal, we speak to Sandra Lewis, Founder and CEO of Worldwide101 and wearevirtualassistants.com
What was it that inspired you to create a business centered around remote working?
After working for 20+ years in a corporate environment in the US and the UK, I decided that I wanted a change in pace. And so in 2009, we moved our family to Europe in search for a more balanced lifestyle. It was then that I started thinking about how I could continue to pursue a rewarding career and yet lead a life far away from the stress of a big city, and office politics! So it was my desire for a remote lifestyle, which lead me to build a company around remote working where everyone would have a chance to pursue a rewarding career in their own environment. So far, it’s working well! ☺
In an industry where the entire workforce is by its nature working remotely, are you seeing any shifts in the way other ‘traditional’ businesses perceive remote workers?
I believe that there are still some misconceptions about what a virtual assistant is, and what a virtual assistant can do to support business owners, and too often, the industry is still associated with basic admin support and data entry type tasks.
We created We Are Virtual Assistants to raise awareness of what a virtual assistant is, and can do! I am hoping that our efforts to educate businesses on the value of working with virtual assistants will pay off, and that more and more companies will understand that having someone remote can be an extremely valuable investment.
What do you predict the next 10 years look like for remote working? Will the upward trend in adoption continue?
I surely hope so! In all honestly, yes I believe that the world is changing and remote work will only grow overtime. Professionals are looking for flexible and remote opportunities, and with the rise of technology there is absolutely no reason for this trend to keep growing.
How do you organise your day while working remotely, do you work a traditional 9-5?
I don’t work a traditional 9-5 but then I am the founder of 2 busy businesses so I work a traditional 7am-11pm! ☺
In terms of our global team, they work on a flexible schedule and we are more concerned about their accomplishments, and their commitment to providing a premium service to our clients than their actual schedule. So it’s fine to drop the kids off, and it’s fine to work outside of business hours – as long as high performance is maintained.
Are many of the people coming to work for you first time remote workers?
I would say it’s 50/50. We have team members who have never worked remotely, while others are veterans, and we are happy to onboard either. What we look for are professionals who have made a conscious decision to work from home and remotely, and who will work very hard to retain that privilege.
What advice would you offer to first timers, or someone considering the move?
It might appear to be a novelty, and it might seem to be an amazing opportunity however, it’s not for everyone. Many people miss the water cooler and the office camaraderie. Think hard as to whether you like to work alone, and whether you have the self-motivation and the drive to sustain this lifestyle
Sandra Lewis is the Founder and CEO of Worldwide101, the premium virtual assistant company for demanding founders, and executives with a team based in North America and Europe all 100% remote!
Sandra also recently launched wearevirtualassistants.com, a community platform that provides resources, tools, expertise, and inspiration to support virtual assistants succeed in the industry.
When she is not managing her businesses, you can find her hanging out with her dogs, and exploring the countryside!